AIO liquid coolers are a great and efficient way to keep your CPU cool. They are often known to perform better than traditional air coolers. However, installing an AIO cooler is not as easy as expected. A proper procedure must be followed to make sure the installation is accurate.
Install The Backplate
Backplates are the things that enable the connection between your CPU and water block. They are placed behind the motherboard and CPU socket. This is where the screws of your water block mount on, ensuring the connection between your CPU and water block. Follow the instructions below to install the backplate:
- Align The Backplate: Align your backplate so that all the screw holes of the motherboard are positioned accordingly.
- Screw The Backplate: Now secure the backplate with the screws that it came with. This is where you will screw on the waterblock later on.
Install The Fans
Installing the fans inside the radiator before you install it in the case is recommended, as it gets much more complicated once the radiator is inside the case. Here’s how you can install the fans:
- Place The Fan: Line the fans up in the correct configuration inside the radiator.
- Screw The Fans: Afterward, secure the fans with screws while installing them into the radiator.
Mount The Radiator
Now, you should have decided on the correct spot to mount your radiator. Now is the time to install it. Ensure you have removed any additional panels or brackets from where you are about to install your radiator. Follow the instructions below to mount the radiator in the radiator:
- Align The Radiator: First, align and hold your radiator where you want to mount it.
- Line Up The Radiator With Screw Holes: While holding it there, ensure the cutouts on the case line up correctly with the screw holes on your radiator.
- Manage The Radiator Cable: Pass the cables of the radiator through the cutouts to the back of your case.
- Screw The Radiator: Once the radiator is aligned correctly, tighten the screws to secure its place on the case.
Install The Waterblock
Before installing the water block, remove all the thermal paste previously applied on top of your CPU’s IHS. Most water blocks will come with pre-applied thermal paste, but if yours does not, install a small amount of it on the IHS of your CPU. This is how you can install the water block:
- Install The Retention Bracket: The first step is to install the retention bracket around your water block. Your AIO will come with one.
- Place The Waterblock: After installing the retention bracket, place the water block on your CPU, ensuring the water block is oriented the right way up.
- Align The Retention Bracket: Ensure the support screws you installed previously align with the water block’s retention bracket.
- Tighten The Screws: After the bracket and thumbscrews are in place, gradually tighten them to secure the water block on the CPU.
Manage The Cables
The last step after successfully installing all the hardware is establishing the electrical connection. You must connect your AIO cables to your system for this one. Follow the steps below to manage the cables when installing a CPU cooler:
- Connect The Cables: Connect all the fan cables to the fan headers.
- Plug The RGB Cables In Their Connectors: If your fans have RGB, then daisy-chain all your RGB cables and connect them to the RGB connector.
- Connect The Cooler To The PSU: Finally, insert your AIO cooler’s SATA cable into your PSU to supply power to your cooler and power up your system.
How Do You Choose The Right Size For Your Build?
To choose the right AIO size, consider your case’s capacity and your PC’s usage. If your PC pushes the CPU to its limits and causes thermal throttling, opt for a larger AIO. According to us, a 120mm fan suits more minor cases. For better cooling, choose 140mm, but it requires more space and power.
After fan size, select the radiator size based on the number of fans. A single fan and 120/140mm radiator suffice for casual users with limited space. Use a dual fan and 240/280mm radiator for mid-sized cases and occasional overclocking. Hardcore users needing maximum performance should choose a triple fan and 360/420mm radiator.
This was everything you needed to know about installing a liquid CPU cooler. Hopefully, your CPU cooler is up and running as intended. Not only is your CPU way cooler with the temperatures now, but it is also cooler regarding visuals with the RGB aesthetic. Make sure you constantly monitor its temperatures using the dedicated software.
In an AIO cooler, the liquid absorbs the heat and travels to the radiator, dissipating heat via the cooler fans. If you have a minor PC case, choose a 120mm cooler. For mid-sized cases, you can go for 240/280mm or 360/420mm cooler. A liquid cooler absorbs the heat, relocates it, and dissipates it outside the PC case, leaving no chance for the heat to disperse in the PC case, which usually happens in the stock cooler.
Frequently Asked Questions
In an AIO cooler, the liquid absorbs the heat and travels to the radiator, dissipating heat via the cooler fans.
If you have a minor PC case, choose a 120mm cooler. For mid-sized cases, you can go for 240/280mm or 360/420mm cooler.
A liquid cooler absorbs the heat, relocates it, and dissipates it outside the PC case, leaving no chance for the heat to disperse in the PC case, which usually happens in the stock cooler.
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[How To’s & Guides Editor]
Haddi has been in the Gaming and tech Space for over 10 Years Now; he has worked on notable websites like eXputer, Gamepur, Gear Siege, Gearnuke, and plenty more. He is an expert at Games & PC Hardware; you can expect him to solve any problem. People often joke, that if there is any problem anyone can solve, Haddi can solve it faster. Currently, Haddi writes and manages a Team of Experts at Tech4Gamers.